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Helping Your Child Adjust to School

            After being away from school for a period of time, some children are fearful about retuning to school for a variety of reasons.  They may be worried about having a new teacher, new classmates, or about leaving the comfort of their home routines.  Sometimes children may cling to you and cry when they must go to school.  This kind of reaction is not uncommon for children.  But there are some things that you can do to help make sure that your child has a good school year.  Try some of the following suggestions to see what works best for you and your family.  Some of the possibilities may not fit well with your routine but hopefully other suggestions will work well for your family. 

  • Make sure that your child gets plenty of sleep (about 9 hours) each night.

  • At night, talk to your child in a positive way about going to school the next day.  If he/she has fears or concerns, listen to your child and try to validate what he/she is feeling.  Instead of saying, “Oh, there’s nothing to worry about”, try to listen to the concerns and respond to them.  “You seem worried when you think about your teacher calling on you.  You are afraid that you won’t have the right answers.  What happens when the teacher hears someone give an answer that isn’t correct?”

  • Do as much as you can to prepare children for the following morning.  Let them know some of the things that will be expected of them.  You might say,  “In the morning, you have to get dressed, eat breakfast and brush your teeth.” Having clear routines that the child must follow, getting the backpack ready and laying clothes out the night before can help the morning go much more smoothly.

  • Put a special note in your child’s lunchbox or backpack about school or how much you care.  Tell your child that you are thinking of him/her.  It helps some children to know that you think about him/her during the day.

  • Avoid long goodbyes.  If your child can, allow him/her to ride the bus.  This creates independence and will help your child feel grown up.  Leaving a child at the door of the classroom can be hard for both you and your child.

  • At the end of the day, talk to your child in a positive way about school.  Compliment your child on making it through the day.  “I remember that last night you were really worried about going to school.  You made it!  What kinds of things did you do that helped you make it.  This helps the child focus on the positive parts of his/her day and also helps him/her to feel successful.

 

If you would like more information on this topic or have any other questions or concerns please feel free to contact Mrs. Donaldsonr at 723-2308 or sdonaldson@hanover.k12.va.us.

 Our Mission:  Hanover County School Counselors provide all students educational services, in collaboration with parents, school and the community, that foster
                       academic, career and social/emotional growth toward lifelong success and effective, responsible citizenship for a diverse and changing world.